Like The Hoarsewhisperer, I have known a narcissist. Not as bad as The Donald, but bad enough. I think it is hard for normal people who have had little or no significant interactions with a narcissist to imagine what it is like inside the mind of a narcissist. It is different in at least two ways. One is that the narcissist thinks that if he has a thought, that thought is a smart thought by virtue of having come from him. Seriously. And if they ever have a thought in contradiction with a previous thought, they don't miss a beat. They've just had another smart thought! And nothing stops them going back to the pervious one if it is ever useful again. A normal, non-narcissist mind cannot do this. We search for a narrative that is logical, consistent.
But I want to talk about the second way the narcissist mind is different.
Trump uses language differently than you or I.
All of us sometimes shade the truth or tell a white lie. We may try to influence someone, but our use of language is fundamentally about signalling. We are transmitting information and part of the structure of the social activity is that it has to do with truth. That it is a good faith excersize in back and forth transmission of information between parties. And when someone lies, they are breaking the rules.
And we tolerate a lot of lieing, of course. We know we are going to get that from crooks and politicians and used car salesmen. And part of the whole language game is constantly assessing your sources for truthfulness among other things.
All that said:
Trump is not doing that. It is NOT a good faith excersize in back and forth transmission of information between parties. Being a narcissist, Trump does not believe anyone acts in good faith. Anyone. He believes we are all like him (selfish, self-important and endlessly scheming for self-advantage), only weaker or stupider.
He uses language only to intimidate, or to project what thoughts he wants the other to think-- offensively projecting thought dart missiles that he wants to lodge in the minds of others.*
There is no issue of information. There is no issue of truth. He does not believe in truth the way normal people do. That's part of the disease. If a thought dart today goes in the opposite direction of a thought dart from yesterday it does not matter in the least. In. The. Least. It's a thought dart based on the here and now, utterly situational, and not an attempt to transmit information per se, accurate or otherwise.
That sounds crazy, doesn't it? It IS crazy. He has a disease.
The good news is that narcissism is not totally debilitating. A narcissist can even become POTUS!
*He thinks this is what others are doing as well. That words are a battleground. The irony, of course, is that we do the same thing-- assuming he uses language the way we do, which isn't right, which is my point.